Monday, March 28, 2005

Today's letter to my state representative

Dear Representative Keel:

In today's Austin American Statesman, we see that the State of Texas is demanding 6 weeks of unpaid overtime from its prison guards, resulting in a high turnover of guards, to the astonishment of no one but Republicans. Or rather, a higher turnover of guards.

Considering that (according to the Christian Science Monitor) the starting salary of a Texas prison guard is slightly under $18,000 per year, simple arithmetic tells us that the state is pretending to pay them about $9.00 per hour, assuming a 40 hour week for 50 weeks.

It seems to me a cruel hoax, as well as an invitation to prisoner abuse, to make an elaborate and false pretense of giving prison guards "comp time" for overtime work, which, of course, due to the shortages that required them to work overtime in the first place, they _never get to use_. At the end of the year, they lose it.

Wouldn't it be more honest to simply hire 18 year olds (the current minimum age to be a prison guard) for a 45 hour week instead of the fictitious 40 hour week? That way there is no deception.

In other words, they will know up front they are being paid $8.00 per hour, rather than $9.00.

Next question is, what kind of prison guards do you expect to get for $8.00 per hour?


Jim McCulloch

No comments: